Australia has put up on sale what is regarded as the world’s biggest private property. The sites, spread across South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, total 11 million hectares (8,800 square mile). The gigantic size is said to be equivalent to the U.S. state of Indiana, as well as over three-quarters the size of England. The price tag? A whopping US$325 million.
The vast private land is owned by Sir Sidney Kidman, Australia’s so-called “cattle king” and actress Nicole Kidman’s ancestor. It has been with the Australian family for five generations since the 1890s. The properties, according to the Daily Mail, are said to be “the largest private, non-monarchical, non-state landholding on earth” that Kidman bequeathed to his family.
A report by The Telegraph described the vastness of the property. It “covers eleven cattle stations across the country and includes about 186,000 cattle as well as the 8,900 square-mile Anna Creek Station, the world’s largest standalone cattle property.”
Despite the enormity, however, only 150 people live in the territory.
Over 30 bidders from all across the globe have expressed interest. They ran from global pension funds, farming families, to meat companies, investment syndicates and other foreign investors. The interested entities reportedly are based in China, the United States, Britain, Switzerland and Canada.
The family-owned property is retained 98 percent by S Kidman and Co, an unlisted company. Ernst & Young is handling the sale. In its information memorandum released for potential buyers, it advised interested parties must be willing to make numerous flights across the country to inspect the entire estate.
The impending divestment has captured the attention of government authorities who want to ensure the land will not be owned by a foreign-government company. “This isn’t xenophobia, this is exactly what other countries do — no other government can buy land in China or Indonesia, for example,” Barnaby Joyce, a federal minister and member of the rural-based National party, told The Australian. “It’s different when it is a genuine foreign company or individual investing… but a foreign government has a more long-term purpose, which could over the long run undermine our nation’s interests.”
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